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It somehow validates my belief that some of the teachings I grew up with were very wrong. I rejected the teachings of courtship and emotional purity when I was 19. In fact, I have identified several ways that these teachings can damage a person’s heart. Shame because that’s “sinful” and “emotionally impure.” Shame because it sets a standard and proclaims that you are somehow shameful if you cannot keep it. Because your heart is whole and she just gave a piece of hers to a guy she isn’t married to. You have more to give your future husband than she does. This has nothing to do with the righteousness and grace of God, and everything to do with the accomplishments of man. I was trying to explain this to my friend, and it came out sounding so .
These teachings have deep, rotten roots, and it takes time to pull them all out. They deceive us into thinking that living by formulas is “safe.” 1 1= 2. It’s nice to know I’m not alone in my dysfunction, but it is discouraging as well. Thus began a journey to know God and understand life; a journey from bondage to grace; a journey she's still making. At age 17 she fell in love with her best friend and her perfect little formulated world came crashing down. Visit Terms & Conditions on Text for Help Sevices to learn more. Loveisrespect Text for Help Services, sponsored by Mary Kay Inc. All articles on this site reflect the views of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of other Recovering Grace contributors or the leadership of the site.
Two weeks after the publication of this article, Darcy wrote some follow-up thoughts. EDITOR NOTE: If you are a reader who is unfamiliar with the specific courtship teachings of Bill Gothard and IBLP (the perspective from which Darcy writes), you can find more articles by clicking here.
Maybe time is the only cure, and I need to be more patient with myself. I have talked with literally hundreds of alumni my age, and I am not exaggerating the extent of the issue.
This is one dysfunction that I really wish I could be freed from. When you choose to love, you are choosing to accept risking a broken heart. Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). We build neat little formulas and say “THIS will keep me safe! Thanks to those good intentions, we are seeing an entire generation of homeschool alumni who have no idea how to have normal relationships.
The topic of dating and relationships came up and we started talking about my story. In my life it meant never having a crush on a guy, never allowing myself to “fall in love.” Basically, training myself to shut down a normal, healthy, functioning part of my human heart. I told her if she was to walk out of the room, leaving me and her husband in the same room, my first reaction would be one of panic.
Sometimes it’s actually comforting to me to be met with blank or incredulous stares from people I consider “normal,” good Christians. I’m 27 years old, and I’ve been married for almost 7 years. Shame because sometimes you can’t help but like one guy a little more than another. Pride because you are so much more spiritual than that poor girl over there who is crying because her boyfriend broke up with her. They made up laws that God never condoned, then patted themselves on the back for keeping them, while looking down on those who didn’t.
As I laughed, I felt myself looking down on the situation, amazed that nobody thought twice about it. I had to push away feelings of guilt because what if someone thought I was *gasp* flirting?! I will trust Him whom I cannot see, surrender what I cannot control anyway.” Formula is the assurance of things planned for, the conviction of things seen. We don’t take a step unless we can see where we’re going. They were new in my generation and now I, and others like me, are reaping the fruit of them. I’m sure those who promoted such ideas had good intentions. Without Truth and Grace they do more harm than good.